The History Of Lectron Carburettors
With new ownership and innovative people at the helm of this amazing company, Lectron carbs have gotten a huge 'reboot' and have further developed there ranges of carburetors to suit a wider range of vehicles and now offer minimal tuning; making most applications 'plug & play' compatible straight out of the box. The units come pre-tuned and engineered for extended applications and typically require only minor tuning adjustments when installed, like minor idle and throttle adjustments, etc. The modern Lectron brand is quickly gaining International attention in the racing and performance markets, and rivaling even fuel injections systems in application, economy, and performance output. More importantly with no jets to change, minimal effort to tune, increased lap times, and better fuel efficiency; they simply outperform the mainstream of average carbs and are consistent in one very vital area, in winning races!
Lectron is looking forward to its 46th year and all the future years to come, as we are extremely proud of the fact that we are continuing to help riders get the most from their vehicles with our high performance carburetors. After all, winners choose Lectrons! Because quality, innovation, and design make these carburettors superior to any other carburettors available on the market. Nearly 46 years of winning and still made in the USA!
Lectron was founded in 1973 by Norm Quantz, the chief designer and engineer of the single-fuel 'slide and pin' type carburettor (with a unique metering rod), ingeniously developed as a guillotine slide concept; which is responsible for intense atomisation of fuel particles and has no jets and requires minimal tuning due to environmental 'air pressure' auto-tuning, which occurs naturally when conditions change or there is a change in air pressure from traveling to different altitudes or climates.
Lectron further disrupted the industry when it began in 1974 by developing two carburettor firsts; the flat slide and the flat metering rod. Lectron continues to build upon these innovations and supplies both professional racers and weekend warriors with technology that improves torque, horsepower, and fuel economy while adjusting for atmospheric conditions. Lectron takes the trial & error out of tuning, eliminating all the painful hours spent trying to micro adjust for 'known' factors and 'unknown' tuning variables. This well designed carb "auto-tunes" to compensate for things like altitude changes, pipe swaps, porting, reeds and any other thing that you would usually have to "re-jet" your carb for, so that your bike continues to run crisp. Here's how they do this; Lectron uses a single fuel metering device (AKA Metering Rod). This one device takes the place of a pilot jet, intermediate circuit, and main jet found in a conventional carburettor. This one metering rod not only replaces the 'jet' (a single port metal tube that air and fuel pass through to create fuel mixture), but also offers the equivalent surface area and technology equal to approximately 12 main jets versus the normal 4 to 5 jet configuration in a conventional carburettor.
After installing the Lectron carb, it is very common for bikes to start FIRST kick every time (at very least by the 2nd kick for those of us with short legs), which is awesome! The bike had no idling issues when I would have the clutch in or while it was warming up before the ride. When I first rode the bike onto the track to get warmed up I instantly noticed how much more crisp and how much earlier the power came on from the bottom compared to my TMX and Keihen PWK Airstryker Carb. The power delivery became somewhat less explosive and unpredictable and much more usable and smooth. My lap times were cut down a few seconds a lap because of how much smoother the power delivery was. So instant bottom, smoother transition the mid hit and the over-rev up top was noticeably longer and stronger than either of the two other carbs. After some time on the track I went out for some single track loops to see how the low end would work out on the tight stuff. There was no longer a hesitation or slight sputter as I was rolling through the tight technical trails in 1st and 2nd gear. Clutching become a little less necessary since there was no long an intense amount of lurching going on when the bike was in low rpm's on super tight sections. As if that is not enough great news, I have even greater news (especially for enduro riders and racers) the fuel efficiency of these carbs is off the charts! Many riders are stunned and amazed to get both top-end high performance and such an increase in fuel efficiency which allows them to go further for longer without a fill up of the tank. Feedback is very consistent that more laps and longer distances on one tank of fuel is not just possible (totally impossible on other makes carbs as they often guzzle fuel), but has become the new standard of racing as we know it, when you bolt on a Lectron carb!
By the mid-1970s this is what they were saying about the Lectron Carb:
"Revolutionary . . . precisely describes the Lectron metering rod, which replaces all jets and needles in old fashioned carburettor fuel systems."
"From Idle To "ALL-OUT" "WITH NO FLAT SPOTS!!!"
The same is true today with over 43 years of improvements and refinements made largely possible by years of racing i.e. drag cars, drag bikes, MX championships, Enduro championships and breaking land speed records; have helped us to keep refining and making this amazing carb even better to include expanding the application range to just about any vehicle that requires fuel and that has wheels. Lectron have worked really hard to make a 'race ready' carb for every modern application and for any size vehicle e.g. motorcycles, cars, 4x4s, monster trucks, atvs, buggies, snow mobiles, speed boats, and any custom ride that has been crafted by two hands.
To simplify things even further, all that is typically needed when ordering a Lectron carb is the venturi size (from 30mm to 59mm available) desired and the basic details of the application e.g. the make and model of your vehicle and we can then match the carb to the application to ensure that it is compatible with your engine. If you are building a custom machine, not to worry, it is still very easy, all we will need is a bit more spec of the engine to better support you with a good fit for your unique application. The other typical item needed for a good smooth install is possibly a longer throttle cable than stock and it is always recommend to replace old fuel tubbing (lines) with fresh ones when installing a new carb.
2 Stroke (2T):
Two-cycle engines have a different fuel requirement when they heat up than when they are cold, especially when they are used for motocross, trails, trail riding, etc. Our 2 cycle metering rod is designed to richen the midrange and avoid engine deficiencies. Lectron's 2-cycle metering rod eliminates "flat spots" in immediate acceleration response and makes possible a single-fuel circuit carburettor that takes you from idle to all-out with a smooth, uninterrupted flow of air and fuel! Kenny Roberts, Rick Hocking, Mike Kidd, and many other professional riders found it "more responsive in all gears," no wonder they chose it over other top carbs. More combustible atomization means maximum power with leaner mixtures for outstanding fuel economy.
Lectron carbs are the direct descendant of a long line of flat slide, metering rod-based cabs made popular by Kenny Roberts and others in the 1970s. The beauty of this carb lies in its simple, yet sophisticated, metering via a rod with a precisely machined "flat" on one side. Simply moving the rod with a micrometre-type built-in adjuster "tunes" the unit to various requirements. It works well as a performance carb, compensates for altitude unlike the stock carburettor, and is available in "street legal" (smog legal) form. The flat slide design makes for a crisp throttle response and good turbulence and velocity through the venturi as well.
The Kenny Roberts Era:
At the beginning of his European Grand Prix career in 1978, Kenny Roberts used a couple of special 250TZs and in the process won his first ever Grand Prix - the season opener in Venezuela, plus the Dutch TT; he also came home 4th in the championship. Although it must be said, his main efforts went into winning his world title, the 1978 500cc championship.
Officially sanctioned by Yamaha, the two machines, coded KK (Kel, Kenny) 001 and 002, had one-off custom frames manufactured by Rob North, to Roberts' own design and specifications, which featured a low centre of gravity and forward engine position. Notable was the headstock, later incorporated by the factory from the TZG model. The wheels of KK 001 and 002 were by Morris and were originally shod with Goodyear slicks. The engine featured a number of works components and back in the day when heavy tuning was required, Kel Carruthers was on hand to fine tune these amazing machines. Pics below: are some amazing images of Kenny and his crew during this ground breaking time in racing history.
A true 'game changer' is what Kenny was to the sport! It was his famous race and continued successes, which brought about a wide-spread cataclysmic event (which for the purposes of this article), we will simply call 'acceptance'; although there was nothing simple about what he achieved that day! Respect is what he had won; a resounding, profound respect is what everyone felt for him when he won this moment in history and took home the Championship! And 'acceptance' was the fallout that began to spread outward from the heart of the sport. Real, observable change within the sport was born and was now growing, 'the before' faded into nothingness and no longer mattered and 'the after' continued evolving into the International racing scene we now know and appreciate today. Kenny turned the impossible into something very possible! He showed us that anyone from anywhere deserved the opportunity to prove themselves in any competition and if they had 'the magic' within them and the talent to do so, they could in fact win and take home the World Championship!
Pic Below: Kenny Robert's #1 bike as seen today in modern exhibitions, the legend lives on!
A lot of things have changed since then and a lot of things have stayed the same as you can see from the original advert published in 1978 in contrast to this year’s dyno tests pics on the right (below). For one we no longer need to spend huge amounts of effort tuning with the modern version of these carbs, but a lot of the proven technology is very much the same and has just gotten better over the years.
Lectron carburettors were exclusively used, and slowly became 'well known', gaining market popularity while on the 500cc Grand Prix tour, and arguably spawned their later widespread viral explosion into the European market. Soon after this Lectron found its fame and began to spread throughout the rest of the world as a very efficient and powerful racing carburettor. Word of mouth in that time, it was said that, 'It was the carb of choice, the one to have if you wanted to consistently win races and not have to worry about jetting carbs or tuning your life away, it just works, you bolt it on, and it just goes!"
Lectron soon after this time period got it's well deserved big splash of world-wide media attention and was well on its way to becoming a household name in the carburetor world. Big deals were struck with the up and coming company Penton (which later became KTM) and the mighty and powerful market hungry Harley Davidson Company. The Lectron carb was chosen to be the top performance choice for both brands, offering a better than stock carb on several new lines of innovative motorcycles. For penton it was their new line of off-road bikes used for trails, enduro riding and later for their flagship bike that would enter the ever-growing motocross scene.
Lectron carbs had a strong presence with Penton even before the Kenny Roberts era and their carbs were 'optionally' used in several of Penton's bikes from 1974 - 1978, ranging from the 125cc to their famous 400cc MC5 motocross bike; which won races where ever it emerged (as seen in the image above from an original newspaper advert printed in 1975). It was not until after that famous day in 1978 when Kenny won the World Championship that production began to ramp up. Making Lectron carburetors the better than standard equipment choice, no longer an after-thought, marked as only an 'optional' upgrade. Lectron had become standard 'OEM' equipment on all Penton motorcycles until the late 1980s. Below is a great picture of a 1975 Penton 400cc MC5 motocross bike in classic white.
As mentioned earlier Harley Davidson also wanted the Lectron carburetor on many new lines of street / road motorcycles throughout the late 1970's and 1980's to foster continued growth for the brand in promoting the performance sector of the motorcycle market. People wanted to go faster and look good while they were roaring down the road. Harley Davidson aimed to give people just that and produced the early Sportsters, the FLH1200's, the legendary Electra glide, and the famous Super glide line of bikes which were all equipped with Lectron carbs as standard equipment. Below is an image of the legendary 1978 Electra glide in black, which has been very popular in action movies over the years (remember Terminator 2), yes that is the same model of bike just done up a bit differently for the movie.
As the company grew in the 1980s and 1990s, Lectron's engineering and expertise also grew and the company wanted to push the envelope with answering the ultimate question. The question for Lectron was what can our carb truly do, what can it achieve, in other words how far can this technology go? The possibilities were endless, the design was beautiful, the simplicity was pure genius! By the end of their time in the mainstream market, they had their hands on a well trialed, proven and 'patented' technology that had been extensively developed and refined (for a little over a decade since their start in 1973), so their focus began to shift back toward racing again, but this time 'extreme racing' applications became their target and their aim was pure, driven by the need to find out if this carb had any limit to its capability. They never found their limit, but what they did find was a market 'sandbox' where people were hungry for speed; after all what is more extreme than drag racing at speeds up to 410.38 kilometres per hour? Yeah, this is how fast that these bikes can get up to, the latest speed record for drag bike racing was set by Korry Hogan in 2011 and is a massive 255 miles per hour in a quarter mile and when converted is 410.38 kilometres per hour. That is insanely fast!
As you can see, Lectron has been inspiring people everywhere to push further, dare to do the impossible, and come back smiling from the experience. After all racing is a journey and when you come out on top, it is really hard not to smile? Lectron have been helping racers to reach new benchmarks in performance both in speed and endurance, surprisingly, usually a mix of both with these carburetors. In this section we would like to show some faces (of just a few of the many proud people out there), that love their Lectron carbs and love their victories even more! Pics above: Some recent highlights from winning races with Lectron carbs from various teams throughout America, plus some of Kevin Gilham's career drag racing trophies (also pic above, bottom right corner), all awards won using Lectron carbs. Pic below: Steve "Brewdude" Garn, AMA Land Speed Record Grand Champion and winner of another 24 land speed records throughout America, including: 2nd place AMD World Championship Show, Hall Of Fame IMBBA, and 2nd Place Championship of the Americas. He only installs Lectron carbs, on all of his many bikes! FYI: I think he has about 12, he will no-doubtedly update me on this vital fact later!
Lectron by the end of the 1990's still required some normal tuning for several models of bikes and other such applications. It was still the norm to require specialised tuning for enthusiast applications that were far beyond the normal racing scope (like a drag bike for example). In this new 'enthusiast' market, Lectron became well known for winning races and it did not take long for the word to spread and soon everyone wanted to have a Lectron carburetor on their drag car, monster truck, their speed boat, their ATV, custom bike, 'Mod' machine, dirt bike, street bike and just about any vehicle that required fuelled aspiration.
In the 2000's the goal of the company began to become extremely clear and over the next following years, Lectron was again inspired, but this time by a constant demand from the general public. The 'word on the street', was generally the same everywhere (a singular viral message), united by one fact, one cause; that people were 'frustrated' with changing jets and spending large amounts of time tuning their rides. There was an overall market need for a 'minimal tuning' carb that when installed would just work on your vehicle like it was made for it! It would be pre-tuned just for your specific model and once it was bolted on, cabled up, and supplied with fuel; it would just start right up! Lectron took this very seriously and made it their mission to achieve this goal and began to research mass vehicle specs and fitment of their parts: metering rod lengths, air flow variables, fuel requirements, fuel efficiency, and many other engineering details to determine the best setup for every individual vehicle on the market. And with great success, they have done it! Lectron are proud to announce the arrival of their 'pre-tuned' 2 stroke model carb that does just that, it is made to suit your model of bike straight out of the box!
More great news from Lectron: the 'pre-tuned' 4 stroke mx carburetors (for all of you thumpers out there) have arrived! Also 4T stroke street and road bike models now available! The 4 stroke carbs have undergone extensive testing (the R&D finalised), and now Lectron supply 2T and 4T carbs for every bike, vehicle and custom application where carbureted aspiration is needed to power your petrol, ethanol, or racing fueled engines! Lectrons just go! Pre-order your custom built Lectron Carburetor today and go places fast!
Pic above: A great example of a customer's own creation, an amazing piece of engineering! What a beautiful 'custom' ride (also known as a 'mod' bike), a truly stunning build, fully blue-printed and build for speed, top performance, max horsepower and after we return back to our seats, recovering from all that awesomeness, we can see this great bike is proudly showing off its matching, Lectron carbs! A perfect combination of modern inovation and classic style, well done!
To this day Lectron hold vital positions in all racing markets where fuelled aspiration / carburation is required and are a leader in many arenas / circuits and are winning races where competitors have found their product's limits!
Pic above: A professional motocross bike (2 stroke) outfitted with a Lectron carb, the cycle is now complete.
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